Bulldog players gave credit for a hard-fought game and the Tigers said they wished them well against their in-state rival South Carolina.
“Georgia is a great team,” Clemson cornerback Garry Peters said. “They will be fine. I think they’ll win a lot of their games this season.”
With Saturday’s victory, Clemson became the first non-SEC team in NCAA history to win consecutive games against top-ten SEC opponents. The Tigers took down then-No. 8 LSU in last year’s Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Georgia fell to 10-3 in season openers under coach Mark Richt, with all three losses against top ten opponents, including Boise State in 2011 and Oklahoma State in 2009.
Clemson has somewhat of a re-grouping week with a matchup against FCS South Carolina State. Georgia, which dropped six spots to 11th in the rankings, takes on a Gamecock squad that’s won the last three meetings between the two – a first feat in the history of the rivalry.
Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins said that Saturday’s game at Sanford Stadium is one he anticipates will be exciting between two teams he’s studied greatly over the offseason. He said based on what he saw against Georgia he expects a minimal margin will determine the outcome.
“That’s what the big games are about, just one or two plays,” Watkins said. “If you mess up on those plays, it could become a big effect. Just look at that missed field goal, if they made that, we’d be going into overtime. It’s just the little plays that you’ve got to focus on in a big game.”
Tigers defensive tackle Grady Jarrett said he believed the difference in last week’s game was Georgia’s offensive line, which paved way for Todd Gurley’s career-high 154 yards, but also allowed four sacks.
“We won the game in the trenches,” Jarrett said after the game. “The film doesn’t lie. Gurley is a really good back, though, he’s real man. It’s tough we’re going to have to play him again.”
Gurley ran for a career-low 39 yards against South Carolina last year in one of only five games he didn’t tally 100-plus. The sophomore will serve as a team captain for the first time on Saturday and is expected to be a difference maker alongside Aaron Murray, Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd said.
“I think they’ll do well,” Boyd said of Georgia’s backfield. “Only time will tell in those situations, those games like that. That is a big game for those guys. Obviously everybody knows what South Carolina’s defense is capable of. But I think it’ll be an intriguing matchup as well. I’m excited to watch it.”